Recently our pastor, Andy Stanley, did a killer series that totally resonated with me, and in one sermon he mentioned that how people treat his children impacts how he feels about those people — and I couldn’t agree more. If you love my kids, I love you. Really it’s that simple, and I’m pretty sure that’s a fair sentiment across all parents everywhere.
When Emma Vance was still a wee thing, unable to walk steadily or speak in full sentences, we spent a lot of time at a local BBQ restaurant (okay, so maybe we still spend a lot of time at that restaurant, haha!), and we slowly became regulars. There were a couple of girls, best friends, that served us consistently, and we got to know them and vice versa. We loved seeing them, requesting their section, because not only were they awesome servers, but because they were so kind to E.V. One of them, Olivia, had this necklace (I’ll never forget this), and Emma Vance was enchanted with it. She wanted to see it, to touch it, and Olivia let her — a total “stranger,” all up in her face, grimy little hands messing with a precious piece of jewelry. They would fawn over her, let her color with their pens, hold her, walk her around the restaurant. One day Ryan and I just blurted out (finally), “Do you babysit?”
It turned out that, yes, Olivia and Sara loved to babysit and that they lived right down the street from Amityville. Over the past couple of years they’ve become like Emma Vance and Cricket’s big sisters. They love on our little girls so well, and in return our girls adore them. Emma Vance talks about them when they’re not there; she gets excited when she knows they’re coming to “play” that night; and Cricket loves to snuggle up and fall asleep on them every single time they babysit. ;) Over the years we’ve come to trust them beyond anything that a normal parent-sitter relationship would merit — they’ve taken E.V. out and about to the mall, to their neighborhood to ride bikes, to their houses (to torment Olivia’s cat mostly). Olivia and Sara have become part of our family, and I can’t but help but laugh when any other moms ask me exasperatedly where I find such great sitters. They were our waitresses once upon a time. Hahaha!
Fast forward a couple of years, and Olivia has gone from college student to working woman with a fiancee. Ryan and I couldn’t be happier about her upcoming wedding; it brings back so many memories for us — the excitement of starting life, of being married so young, of planning your dream wedding and all the fun details. We know that this is a time in life that is so special and unique, and we’ve been soaking up every bit of her experience possible. She’s got a great sense of style and a good head on her shoulders, and we’re already excited for the party of the century that her wedding will be. And, as if we couldn’t get any more excited, a few weeks ago Olivia asked E.V. to be her flower girl (!!!), which just solidified even more how much we love her. Emma Vance graciously accepted, of course, and so on her third birthday E.V. will officially participate in her first wedding ever. Emma Vance will be practicing her flower girl duties a lot over the next few months (step, drop, step, drop) in hopes of making Miss Olivia proud, and meanwhile Ryan and I will practice not breaking down in happy tears for when our little girl precedes Olivia down the aisle to the altar. Because like I said, it’s simple — if you love my kids, I love you. ;)